"This is a special time of year in Norway—these are the days of the midnight sun and the perfect backdrop for a celebration. All of our ships proudly carry the Norwegian flag, and it is an especially proud day to officially welcome our new ship in Tromsø, the arctic capital of the world," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Vikings were explorers, and our ships are built with their spirit of exploration in mind. We design every aspect of our ships and cruises so that our guests can spend more time immersed in their destination. Scandinavia is Viking territory, but as we continue to expand our fleet, we also look forward to introducing new travelers to the Viking way of travel around the world."
After arriving in Tromsø, Viking Sky was positioned in the harbor adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Viking guests and residents of Tromsø were treated to a public concert, with performances from a variety of Norwegian musicians—including Arctic Philharmonic, Lisa Stokke, Violet Road, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Jørn Hoel. During Viking Sky's christening ceremony, Marit Barstad, sister of Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen, served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sky—a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years.
Several elements of the christening ceremony paid homage to the Norwegian heritage of both the company and godmother. Instead of champagne for the traditional bottle-breaking, Viking Sky was christened with a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit, which hails from the same county in Norway where Torstein and Marit's mother, Ragnhild—also lovingly known as "Mamsen"—was born. "Mamsen's," the Norwegian deli onboard Viking Sky, was also named after Ragnhild, and Gammel Opland was her favorite brand of aquavit. Additionally, in honor of the original Viking explorers, a gilded Viking axe was used to cut the cord for the aquavit christening. The particular axe used is a replica of a gilded Viking axe artifact discovered near Tromsø. Also, the chopping block used for the ceremony was brought from the Rotnes Farm in Nittedal, where the godmother grew up. Immediately following the christening, Viking Sky set sail from Tromsø with a convoy of small boats and fishing vessels to mark the summer equinox in Nordkapp (North Cape). Onboard the ship, guests were also treated to a special christening dinner with Norwegian delicacies and musical performances by Lisa Stokke, Tor Jaran Apold and Mari Boine. The ship will now spend the summer season sailing Viking's popular itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic.
Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boast 465 cabins and accommodate 930 passengers. Viking Sky is the third of eight ocean cruise ships currently planned for the fleet. The fourth and fifth ships, Viking Sun and Viking Spirit, are under construction and will be delivered in September 2017 and 2018, respectively. By 2019 Viking will welcome its sixth ship and will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Viking's ocean fleet features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:
• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.The Viking Difference
• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."
• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.
• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea.
• Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating "the thinking person's cruise." Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking's Culture Curriculum® including: world-class lectures on history and art; personalized opportunities for learning with the Viking Resident Historian program; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties.
• Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. Onboard, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. All-veranda ships mean that guests experience every day with a new, expansive vista. With the most al fresco dining at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences onshore and onboard. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.
In addition, Viking Inclusive Value provides a small ship experience at a big ship value and no nickel-and-diming—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—an included value of more than $200 per person, per day for an average
Image Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises